Public Officials, Scientists & Business people Urge US to Fix Cuba Policy

By Lenka Davis for WMNF radio

Lawrence Wilkerson speaking at the seminar.
Lawrence Wilkerson speaking at the seminar. Photo:Christopher Davis

HAVANA TIMES – For more than 50 years the U.S. Government has severely limited trade and travel with Cuba, but there’s a growing movement to restore the US-Cuba relationship. WMNF’s Lenka Davis reports from a seminar Saturday in Ybor City hosted by Alliance For Responsible Cuban Policy Foundation, dedicated to restoring trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba, and by Center for International Policy.

Panelists urged the U.S. embargo on Cuba be lifted and diplomatic, economic and scientific relations be restored between the two neighbors. Cuba doesn’t have an ambassador to the United States, but their General Counselor in the United States, Llanio Gonzalez-Lopez, sees the the blockade of Cuba as the biggest obstacle in healthy diplomatic relationships.

Gonzalez-Lopez also raised concerns about the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said because the agreement for the base was made with the pre-revolution government, Cuba does not recognize the pact and he called for further discussion with the U.S. government on the issue.

However, Peter Kornbluh from National Security Archives says Cuba is a low presidential priority, despite Barack Obama’s pre-election promise to lead a dialog with Cuba.

According to Kornbluh, friendship between the US and Cuba could bring changes to Cuba faster than the failed 50 year embargo.

The former chief of staff for Colin Powell, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, revealed that Pentagon does not consider Cuba to be a threat even though it’s on a list of terrorist countries. He also outlined what needs to happen to fix foreign policy with Cuba.

Dan Whittle from the Environmental Defense Fund says the US should care about the fate of Cuba’s environment as well, because Cuban and Floridian ecosystems are deeply connected.

Before the seminar Tampa-area member of Congress Kathy Castor pointed out that she supports an end to the embargo. A panelist, Wayne Smith from John Hopkins University and the Center for International Policy, reacted to a Friday night reception speech by Representative Castor.

The receptive seminar audience consisted mostly of Americans with Cuban roots, US-Cuban policy scholars and people with stake in better relationships between the two countries. Even the seminar’s theme suggests that enhancing the U.S. relationship with Cuba will be good for Tampa, Florida and America.

6 thoughts on “Public Officials, Scientists & Business people Urge US to Fix Cuba Policy

  • yeah and the americans are chomping at the bit. we are the country that needs help. soulless, greedy sub human are the adjectives I would use to describe our corporate and government leaders. Highest paid whores on the planet.

  • What’s your point or do you not have one? We are the big bad bullies who are as imperialist and sub human as Che Guevara thought we were. Who are we to talk about human rights violations when we rank among the top thugs of the universe. Ask Iraq, El Salvador, Brazil, South Africa, etc….

  • Raul himself has stated that Cuba is ‘ready to talk with the US on any issue’, without any ‘preconditions’ from the US side. It’s time for this Cold War leftover to end.

  • A panel presentation from the Cuban diplomats, leftist American academics and people like Lawrence Wilkerson, widely regarded as a flake and a turncoat by his former colleagues, does not amount to “growing public pressure.”

    When Wilkerson stated that the Pentagon does not regard Cuba as a threat, he made reference to the notorious and thoroughly discredited Pentagon report on Cuba written by convicted Cuban spy Ana Montes.

  • need to end the embargo and stop letting a bunch of miami cubans dictate our policy. we are the only nation in the world that restricts travel to cuba. we are allowed to travel to north korea and iran but not to cuba. go figure.

  • Same old, same old. Does anyone wonder if there are ever any seminars in Cuba where the assembled panelists and audience members get together to decide what changes should take place in Cuba to foster better relations with the US. OK, not counting those meetings the Castros brand as counterrevoutionary and attended by CIA agents and mercenaries. Attempting to unilaterally lift the embargo is political suicide for Obama and more unlikely to take place than immigration reform, gun control, and increasing taxes on the rich added together and doubled! At least with these issues, people who live here benefit. Lifting the embargo puts $$$ in the pockets of the Castros and emboldens the dictatorship to tighten their control over the Cuban people. On top of the absolute political stupidity of this issue is the impracticality of it all. Why not wait a little while longer until after the 2014 midterm elections. After all, it has been 50 years. What’s a year or two more. MAYBE then Democrats control the House and the Senate. Obama is less constrained by politics and more intent on solidfying his legacy. Maybe Fidel has gone on to dictators hell. The Venezuelan teet is nearly dry by this time and Raul is ripe to make whatever changes he needs to just to keep Cubans from forcing him to take a long walk on a short pier. There is no rush here. On the contrary, time and biology are on our side.

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